Ever laid out on the beach, slathered with SPF, and still come home with a sunburn on your chest? You're not alone, says Angela Lamb, MD, a New York City dermatologist. Thanks to your décolleté's angle on your body, it's in the direct line of fire for sunlight. Plus, your chest usually doesn't get all the anti-aging TLC as your face does, so it's quicker to show signs of aging. And let's face it: a sunburned chest is not a good look with your sweetheart wedding dress. But don't freak out — it's possible to reverse sun damage on your chest before you walk down the aisle. Here's how:
At home: Turns out, the retinol creams you use on your face work just as well on your chest. Every time you apply, make sure not to neglect your neck and décolleté. Dr. Lamb loves Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream. Or try a neck cream, specifically formulated for the thinner skin below your chin, like Revision Skincare Nectifirm.
At the dermatologist: Get ready to start using the L-word: lasers. If you're wearing a strapless gown but can't stop staring at that sunspot on your chest, try Q-Switched lasers, which are extremely effective in removing individual spots. If you're looking to smooth out your décolleté, remove wrinkles, or get rid of a whole bunch of freckles, try Fraxel lasers, which Dr. Lamb says work well to resurface your whole chest. Make sure to book an appointment at least three months before your wedding, though, and avoid lasers in July and August — the sun can reverse the effects!
Over time: Wearing SPF on your chest helps, but it's not enough to prevent damage in direct sunlight. Your best bet is to wear a high-necked T-shirt, dress, or cover-up when you're out in the sun. If you need to strip down to your swimsuit, make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours and every time you go in the water. Or try a wide-brimmed sun hat, which throws major shade on your upper body and doesn't sacrifice one bit of beach chic.